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Business News of Sunday, 20 May 2018


Fight deforestation to save economy - 'Forest actors'

Forest actors and government officials at the Tropical Africa Alliance Global Assembly 2018 play videoForest actors and government officials at the Tropical Africa Alliance Global Assembly 2018

Forest actors and government officials, who recently met in Accra during the Tropical Africa Alliance (TFA) Global Assembly 2018, have called on African governments to move beyond policy commitments and supply chain transparency and focus on implementation transparency in the fight against deforestation.

According to Marco Albani, Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, the campaign against deforestation of Africa’s remaining forest cover requires time and resources.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the meeting, Mr Albani said the loss of forest in the West Africa sub-region, for instance, had led to low production levels of cocoa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, adding that it was important to maintain momentum up to and beyond 2020.

The four-day high-level meetings were convened by TFA 2020 in collaboration with the Government of Ghana and Proforest, an international NGO.

Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director, ProForest, commenting on the situation, said generally deforestation in the West Africa sub-region was about 2 to 3 percent per year.

“At the beginning of the last century, Ghana tried to establish forest banks with almost 8 million hectares of forest but all has been lost to illegal activities. Just about 1.8 million that was also reserved for permanent forest had been lost.

“Over the last 100 years, we have lost almost everything to the extent that even some of the reserves have been converted to agriculture which means that we no longer have even 1 million hectares as of now. And that is a challenge.

“So if you look at it in Ghana, the goal is to try and improve forest cover outside forest reserves. Governments have not had the courage to stop companies that carry out the deforestation. So the challenge is how do we get them out if it is possible?”

Many supply chain companies have made public commitments to responsible sourcing of agricultural commodities, including the elimination of deforestation and exploitation in their supply bases by 2020, as part of their wider support for initiatives such as the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Fewer than 1,000 days remain until this deadline and – despite considerable progress – it’s clear that many of these commitments may not be fully met on time.

Dr Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the largest public funder of programmes to benefit the global environment, was present at the press conference.